June 12, 2007


The best thing The Onion ever wrote was the Point/Counterpoint on Africa.
Point (college student): Nigeria is a land filled with culture.
Counterpoint (Nigerian): Get me out of this hellhole.
That sums up Africa and the West's relationship to Africa better than anything else I've ever seen. Except for maybe this new interview with a Kenyan economics expert:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa...

Shikwati: ... for God's sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid.

Read the whole thing to get a real economics lesson instead of the feel-good economics that Westerners think runs the world. And if you have more time, read the book Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux.


Marc's right; the article is from 2005. Hardly new, though I just found it today. Oh well, the message still applies cuz we sure didn't take it to heart over the past two years.

Posted by Sarah at June 12, 2007 08:49 AM | TrackBack

Switch Africa with poor people & aid with welfare and it’s the same result.

Teach a man to fish…

Posted by: tim at June 12, 2007 09:41 AM

It is a great interview, but it's also representative of a funny thing about articles that stay on the internet for years and blog cycles. That interview is from July 2005. I remember when it was the big rage back then as well, then it dipped away only to be, for some reason, resurrected as new. Which is cool, because it deserves attention.

Posted by: marc at June 12, 2007 09:52 AM

Yes, I remember reading that back then, but yesterday I read another Spiegel article on how the aid isn't helping Africa, and why do people think that more money would help. I was thinking again...man, wish I could send this to Sarah.
An article called: Why Africa doesn't need money from the West:
And another one called: Why Africa is suffering thanks to foreign aid.
Spiegel seems to have a pretty long standing stance towards the current foreign aid being a negative for Africa.
Maybe those articles will be soon translated into English.

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at June 12, 2007 11:34 AM

Basic premise is so, so true. I just returned from a trip to Rwanda. Millions of dollars in humanitarian aid have flowed into that country, primarily due to guilt from the world ignoring the genocide in 1994. The country has been & continues to be rebuilt in wonderful ways, great roads, etc., particularly compared to Kenya. Even so, the coolest thing are the billboards that encourage their citizens to pay their fair share of taxes so that the country can eliminate their dependence on outside aid. Very cool!
There is hope for Africa, but I agree, continuing to just "send money" without better FAIR trade agreements & accountability on the part of the individual country's gov'ts certainly can do far more harm than good.

Posted by: beckie at June 15, 2007 07:36 AM